There's a Birth Control Pill Recall, So Check Your Pack Immediately
Product recalls of any sort are never good news. But there are few recalls as terrifying and unfortunate as a birth control pill recall—especially if you're someone who relies on birth control to prevent pregnancy.
Well, if you're taking hormonal birth control pills, listen up: There's currently a nationwide voluntary recall of Taytulla birth control pill packs.
Allergan, the company that makes Taytulla, earlier this week after finding out through a physician's report that a sample pack had the placebo pills in the wrong order. The issue: The first day of the pill. Instead, the pack should have 24 pink capsules with hormones and then four maroon placebo pills.
"As a result of this packaging error, oral contraceptive capsules are at risk of contraceptive failure and unintended pregnancy, "Allergan says in a statement on its website. "The reversibility of the order may not be apparent to either new users or previous users of the product, increasing the likelihood of taking the capsules out of order." unintended pregnancy.
There's one batch in particular that's on the right: Lot # 5620706, Expiry May-2019. It's important to point out that the recall is the only impact of a particular sample pack that you would get from your doctor, Frances DeSena, a spokesperson for Allergen, tells SELF. "If it came from the pharmacy, it would not be a part of this recall," she says.
Here's why taking placebo pills at the beginning of a pack—rather than at the end—can be a really big problem.
Let's say you've been taking birth control pills for a while, and you recently finished a pack (meaning you just took the placebo pills—or skipped them, if that's your thing). If you then start a new pack and start with the placebo pills, you would be taking more placebo pills in a row than is recommended by this particular brand.
As a result, your ovaries could start "waking up," meaning they are no longer being suppressed by the estrogen and progestin hormones in the pill, Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, tells SELF. The medical term for that is "follicle-stimulating hormone escape" (or FSH escape). FSH is a hormone that causes your ovaries to ripen up and release an egg. If you have FSH escape, there's a chance you could ovulate and if you're having unprotected sex, that could be fertilized. Minkin explains.
It's "not super likely" that this would happen if you ended up having eight days of placebo pills in a row. Minkin says, but it's "remotely possible." "A worse case scenario would be if a woman was switching from a pill that had seven pills at the end of the pack and then took four more, which would give her 11 days of placebo , "She says. "Then seeing FSH escape would be more possible."
Another potential problem: If this is your first month starting the birth control pill and you received this sample pack from your doctor, starting with the placebo pills essentially means that you're not starting the birth control when you thought you were. Most doctors recommend using a backup method of birth control for a while anyway, but it's worth noting that this could be a problem for some people.
If you are not affected by this recall, do not panic ... but you should take action.
For starters, if you have one of these packs lying around your place and you have not used it, you should call your doctor about it .
If you used a pack, that you know, or it was important to call your doctor about the next steps. Here's what they will likely advise you, Jessica Shepherd, M.D., a minimally-invasive gynecologist at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, tells SELF: Use a barrier method like a condom for backup protection. If you had unprotected sex recently and you're worried about getting pregnant, you can take emergency contraception, she says, or you can have a copper IUD inserted up to five days after unprotected sex to help prevent an unintended pregnancy.
And, if you do not get a period at the end of the month with the "backwards" pills, you should take a pregnancy test. Minkin says, and talk to your doctor about your options.
While this product recall only affects a very small number of people, it's a good reminder to always pay attention to your prescriptions, as well as the way they're packaged and labeled. If anything seems off or different, don't hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist about it.